Opening the Third Ordinary Session of the 14th Parliament
1 December 2005
(Translated from Arabic)
Prayers and peace be upon our master Mohammad, the honest Arab Hashemite prophet,
Honourable Senators,Honourable Deputies,
Peace, God's mercy and His blessings be upon you,
In the name of God, and with His blessings, we inaugurate the third ordinary session of the fourteenth parliament in order to enhance our march in democracy, reform and modernisation; to stand up to challenges and obstacles confronting it; and to articulate plans, programmes and legislation to accelerate the pace of progress so that comprehensive development will be realised for Jordan - a progressive, civilised country, a strong and invincible country whose citizens and guests enjoy security, stability and peace of mind in a climate of freedom, democracy and respect for human rights.
We reaffirm here that security and stability are the first among our national priorities, and that they are a basic prerequisite for development. For, development cannot proceed and our goals cannot be realised unless and until security, stability and the rule of law are ensured.
When the hand of traitors targeted Jordan's security and terrorised its innocent citizens and guests, the country passed, with great success, a critical test of its security and stability. Their treachery was overcome by the brave men and women of the armed forces, public security, general intelligence and civil defence, and by Jordanians who united with gallantry, pride, steadfastness and belonging. We extend our gratitude, appreciation and feelings of pride to the courageous members of the armed forces, the security institutions and to members of our unified Jordanian family, may God grant them all that is good on behalf of Jordan.
We do realise that Jordan's location, its message and positions are the reasons that it was targeted, and that these attacks impose upon it the largest security challenge to ever confront it. Thus, a security strategy capable of dealing with these changed circumstances and containing these challenges is in order. This requires the drafting of legislation that serves this strategy to ensure that Jordan will remain as it always has been; an oasis of security and stability and a haven for freedom where human rights are respected.
We have made, thank God, tremendous strides towards development, and our achievements have been significant. It became necessary that grass-roots participation in decision-making and development planning and programming be expanded.
This was the impetus for the idea to divide the Kingdom into a number of regions, each having elected councils that would be responsible for devising plans and programs related to each respective region's development. It is our belief that each region's citizens best know their own requirements and priorities. Consequently, a Royal Commission was formed to study all aspects of this idea, and it will put its findings in your hands.
Another committee, including representatives of all active groups, from official bodies to grassroots organisations and civil society institutions, was formed to prepare a National Agenda which constitutes a general framework for our development programs and goals. The agenda also will be in your hands, and the hands of the government, for your discussion and benefit.
I feel the suffering of my people, and I know the extent of the economic difficulties they are facing due to the rise in prices, poverty and unemployment. The government is called on to consolidate its efforts to relieve people's suffering. Social solidarity also plays a major role in coping with poverty and unemployment. I know that there are bodies and institutions, both official and non-official, that offer their services in this respect, but the absence of a single body that constitutes a term of reference for this work has led to the absence of planning and a wasteful and inefficient distribution of resources as a result of duplicity in spending. Thus there must be a single body that constitutes a term of reference and serves as an umbrella for social solidarity, that works within a clear plan within an institutional framework and that is accountable.
We are at a new threshold of the reform and modernisation march, and confronting the challenges imposed upon us by difficult regional circumstances requires each and every one of us to rise to the challenge of this moment. It requires that Parliament deal with the government with a sense of responsibility; reach out to the people in drafting the legislation that will drive development forward; enable us to face these challenges; realise the Jordanian people's desire for development and progress; tell the world we are stronger than all our challenges; and that we will always be - as we always have been - loyal to the Arab nation, defending its just causes, primary among them the Palestinian question.
We are with the Palestinians, with all that we can offer, until they establish their independent state on their national soil.
And we are with the Iraqi people as they pass through their ordeal and until Iraq is restored to its natural status and its citisens enjoy a decent, free and secure life.
We will continue to draw on Jordan's outstanding international reputation and credibility to enhance our distinguished relations with all brotherly and friendly countries for the good of Jordan.
I pray to God, the Sublime, to grant us all success.
Peace, God's mercy and His blessings be upon you.